14 December 2019
With the advances in technology is it now time for the Solomon Islands to have national and historical film records?
Each year at the end of December, I look forward to seeing a film review of the year broadcast traditionally by several major TV broadcasters, including the BBC and SBS in Australia.
I guess the same does not happen in the Solomon Islands and this fact raises an important point relating to historical records and the pictorial documentation of history.
By any standards we would have to agree that the Solomon Islands has seen fundamental changes in 2019, not least in the political and diplomatic context, but also in respect of developments, important visits, climate change impacts and advances in gender equality and tourism, to mention but a few.
In my own case, I have viewed happenings and events in the Solomon Islands since when I left office in July 1999 and maintained a documentary record with published photographs to help gain perspective on how changes have occurred in the country and, gradually, for the better.
What I have found lacking, with a few exceptions, is a film account of what has taken place since 1999.
With this in mind, I believe the Solomon Islands should seriously consider augmenting the services provided by the National Library, which was first established in 1974, and the custodian of historical books, records and photographs, many now dated.
In terms of history in general, studying history allows one to understand the past, which in turn allows us to understand the present. Reading books are fine to learn about history, but watching real-time movies of past events provides a much better insight into culture and national developments, thereby adding to understanding and even cultural awareness.
Twenty years or so ago, there was not the advances in technology that we see and experience today. History can now be recorded through video recordings. More recently, internet archives have been saving copies of webpages, documenting history and much history can these days be viewed on U-Tube.
New technology allows for digital recordings, which may be recorded to CDs.
Historical record and interpretation often relies heavily on written records in the Solomon Island partially because it dominates the extant historical materials, and partially because historians are used to communicating and researching in that medium but also, I suspect, because of financial constraints of the government.
I believe it is now time, however, for the Solomon Islands to have its own film archive to preserve its own national audiovisual heritage.
The “tech-savvy” youngsters of Selwyn College, Woodford and those in several other local schools and colleges might usefully be given projects to film events and happenings and the resultant material collected and catalogued at the National Library before being used to shape a documentary programme such as the kind of film review of the year I expect to see on my television at the end of this month.
Alternatively, the incumbent DCGA might consider it a wise investment to create a film documentary unit as part of its information services.